Using Your Pet As Your Accountability Partner For Your Springtime Resolutions
It’s the season of rebirth and growth and the perfect time to reboot those New Year’s resolutions we’ve already given up on. The gyms on the Upper West and Upper East Sides have thinned out, the lines at the organic juice bars have shortened, and our attempt at “Kondo-ing” our lives has really just turned into shoving a bunch of our belongings into boxes and pushing those boxes under our beds for “further inspection.” Our hectic NYC lifestyle always has a way of creeping up on us and squashing our most ambitious New Year goals.
But a great way to get our resolutions back on track is to have an accountability partner to check in with every day; someone who will keep us honest. When we think of accountability partners we automatically think of friends, family members or significant others… but if you’re a pet owner, there’s an even BETTER accountability partner that you might have been overlooking: your furry partner in crime. Because, even if we give up on ourselves, we NEVER give up on our pets.
So in the spirit of growth, love and mindfulness we’re dedicating the next few posts to our Springtime Resolution Series and diving into some ways to enlist your pets help to get you back on track with your goals. So without further ado..
SPRINGTIME RESOLUTION # 1 : MENTAL WELLNESS
One of the biggest goals set by us Americans in the new year is to decrease stress from our lives. A 2017 study showed that 8 in 10 Americans experience stress in their daily lives and more recent studies have suggested that these trends are only growing, especially in younger generations.
But relieving stress is easier said than done since there are so very many factors that can contribute to daily stress and anxiety: from job security and economy trends to relationships and health. It’s hard to know where or how to start. But if you are lucky enough to own a pet, here are some ideas on how to work on easing some of the stress with the help of our furry friends!
Devote 10 minutes of your time at home every day just to your pet. Studies show that having and spending quality time with our pet reduces high blood pressure and makes us worry less about our futures as we live more “in the moment” with our furry companions. As a bonus, it also makes us feel less lonely and can calm our sometimes volatile moods. Try a daily routine of petting or brushing your pet. The simple motion of it relaxes them and releases feel-good hormones in you, going a long way to creating a calming and stress-free environment. Let the endorphins and dopamine flow!
Try understanding where your pet is coming from. Spending time watching our pets and learning their ways of life can go a long way to teaching patience and understanding. What is that saying? Sometimes you just have to get out of your own head? And let’s face it, our pets have a knack for distracting us with their hilarious antics so just taking some time to find enjoyment in their behavior can brighten our day a bit. After all, laughter is the best medicine.
Try talking to your pet: I mean, who DOES’NT talk to their pet on a daily basis? Admitting it might make us feel a bit silly but in reality, talking to our pets aloud every day can also help how we communicate in the outside world and improve our social relationships. Dogs and cats take their social cues from our behavior and are sensitive to the tones in our voices and how we communicate. Dogs, specifically respond in kind to upbeat and playful communication using praising words. Since our pets are around us all of the time—offering us unconditional love reserved of judgement—who better to talk to on a daily basis?
Play with your pet: When we brought our two year old daughter to visit my sister out in Los Angeles a while back, she got a kick out of how her cats loved playing hide-and-seek. Depending on your pet’s personality, they might love these kind of “chasing” games or they might be more into traditional play with their favorite toys. But find what works best for your pet and release that inner-child for a bit each day. It not only works to relieve built up tension in our own bodies but our pet is happier for it too.
Take your dog (or, ahem, your cat!) for an aimless walk every day. Just a quick walk around the block or a long stroll in the park where we aren’t walking anywhere with a purpose helps to put our mind at ease. And there’s nothing better for clearing our head than getting out of the house for a bit. So enjoy a leisurly stroll and take some time to notice the little things around you that we tend to overlook on our daily commutes. And since pets are also great to facilitate social interactions, bring them to parks or other areas where there are other pet owners you can interact with.
Pets supply us with overall love and support while also providing a sense of security and routine to our hectic lives. By working with our pets and concentrating on their health and care we can also improve upon our own. It just might alleviate some of our stress and help to bring balance back to our daily lives.